Many players all over the word have claimed that the game of Live Blackjack is one of those casino games that is impossible to beat. However, this cannot be any further from the truth. The truth of the matter is that the game of live Blackjack has the lowest house edge out of any casino game out there. Additionally, you can further lower the house edge if you apply a great strategy and sound decision-making to boot.
Although some players recommend the art of card-counting, we never recommend this, especially if you are playing at a brick-and-mortar casino, since you are likely to get banned. When it comes to playing at an online casino, card-counting is nigh impossible, especially since some casinos don’t start how many decks of cards they are using.
Playing conditions for the game of Blackjack has changed since its inception. Many blackjack tables use more than one deck of cards at a time, making it impossible to card count.
Even though you are unlikely to win every time, the game of Live Blackjack can be easily beaten by having a strategy in place. Playing the game of Blackjack at a Live Dealer Casino can pose a delightful challenge for players looking for extra thrills. It is no surprise than the game of Blackjack is the most popular casino game in New Zealand, even more so than the games of roulette, baccarat and craps combined.
How to play Live Blackjack
The game of Blackjack is easy to learn. The most important part when it comes to playing Blackjack is having a good bankroll management system in place, and having a strategy to ensure that you make the right decisions.
You kick off play by placing a bet on the table in front of you. Once all the bets have been placed, the dealer will deal out two cards to each player at the table. You will be able to see one of the dealer’s cards, also known as the face-up. Once all the cards have been dealt out, players would have to decide how to play out their hands. Once that has been completed, the dealer has to play according to the rules set by the game.
If the dealer draws cards that total 16 or less, he needs to hit. In general, the rule states that if the dealer has a total of 17 or more, he stands. If the dealer draws a soft 17, including any aces, that would count as a 7.
The following are the possible actions you can take when you play the game of Blackjack:
- Hit: When you opt to ‘hit’, you are requesting an additional card in a bid to build your hand total as close as possible to 21. If you ‘hit’ and go over the total number of 21, then you ‘bust’ and have lost the round.
- Stand: If you opt to ‘stand’, you are choosing to not draw any more cards, in the hope that your total hand total beats the dealer.
- Split: If the two cards dealt out are of the same denomination, you have the option to place a second bet and to split the pair. For example, if you are dealt a couple of 9’s, you have the opportunity to split them by placing a second bet. You can request additional cards for each of the hands.
- Double Down: To Double Down, you are requesting to double your initial bet and to ask for an extra card. You won’t be able to request additional cards after that. Many online casinos further add restrictions to doubling down, especially when your first two cards total to 10 or 11.
- Insurance: The Insurance is a side bet that is offered when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. The Insurance bet covers you in the case that the dealer has an additional 10, totally to the Blackjack. The Insurance bet will take half of your initial bet, and will pay 2-1 if the dealer does indeed have a blackjack.
Many dealers will try to encourage you to take the insurance, but in general, we don’t recommend spending any unnecessary money on side bets, including the Insurance bet.
Variations of Blackjack rules
Since blackjack games come in different variations, the same goes for rules. Some are beneficial for the players, while the others, not so much. The problem with variations to the rules is that it can shift the house edge. Even if it’s a tiny bump, it can have an overall effect on your basic blackjack strategy.
Here are a few common variations:
- Surrender: The Surrender option is not widely available, but when it is available, it can be available either as an Early or Late Surrender. The Early Surrender becomes possible when the dealer has an Ace as a face-up card. Before the dealer checks, if he has a blackjack, you would be asked if you want to surrender half your original bet. An early surrender cuts down the house edge by 0.6%. The late surrender, on the other hand, becomes available after the dealer has checked for Blackjack. Similarly, it will allow you to give up half your initial bet. This further decreases the house edge by 0.07%.
- Double Downs: There is a special rule that applies to Double Downs, especially when it comes to double downs after splitting pairs. Not only does it half the house edge by 0.15%, but it will allow you to double down after splitting a pair, which is a rarity at NZD casinos these days.
- Re-splitting of Aces: At plenty of online casinos in New Zealand, the players will only be allowed to get one extra card per ace. However, if the player received an extra ace, some casinos will allow the pair to be re-split. This option cuts the house edge by an additional 0.5%.
- Dealer hitting on a soft 17: Instead of standing on a total of 17, the dealer is allowed to hit on hands that include aces that sum to 7 or 18. The house edge, in this case, is boosted by 0.2%
- Double downs on 11 or 10: A small minority of live casinos will not allow the player to double on total hand values of less than 10 or soft hands. This, in turn, increases the house edge by 0.2%
The Rules of the game
When it comes to learning how to play the game of Blackjack, many players fail to learn the rules of the game properly, and with lack of patience and concentration, not knowing how to play the game can have a harrowing effect on your bankroll. Even playing averagely, can lower the house advantage to as little as 1% in Blackjack.
The key to becoming a blackjack champ relies on having a basic strategy in place for hitting, standing, doubling down as well as splitting pairs. We will further discuss bets additionally later on in this article.
The game of Blackjack is usually players with one or more standard 52-card decks, with each card assigned a point value. Cards between 2 and 10 are valued at face value, while cards such as Kings, Queens and Jack are worth 10 each. Aces are the exception int his game since they can be used as either 1 or 11 depending on the other card.
Your main aim in the game of Blackjack is to build a hand with a total sum as close to 21, but without going over and beating the dealer at the same time. Different rules apply to different variations of the game of online Blackjack.
When it comes to payouts, a two-card hand creating a Blackjack pays out 3-2. If, on the other hand, the dealer also has a 21, then you will get the initial bet deposited back since it’s a tie.
The house edge on Blackjack
Since the game of Blackjack only permits that the player’s hands go first, the player can easily bust before the dealer gets a chance to play his turn. Since the casino wins every time the player busts, you will never get to see what the dealer has in hand. This allows the casino to have a house advantage in Blackjack.
The casino ultimately, because of this, wins more hands than the players, regardless of expectations. Furthermore, the casino gives back some of this house advantage by paying 3:2 on Blackjack and allowing players to see the dealer’s up-card.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
When played properly, the game of Blackjack can become a game of skill. Having a blackjack strategy in place can lower the house edge down a notch to about 0.5%.
Basic Blackjack strategy dictates that you take the opportunity of the dealer’s up-card. Although the main aim is to have a total hand value of 21, your biggest goal should be to beat the dealer. By having a look at the dealer’s up-card you can have estimated the eventual outcome and thus, play your hand accordingly.
One way to look at this is if the dealer’s face-down card is a 10. Since 10-value cards make up 4 out of possible denominations, you can easily assume the total value of the card. So, let’s imagine you have a total hand value of 16, and the dealer has an up-card of 7, you can assume that the biggest total sum that the dealer could possibly have in hand is 17.
A 17 would beat your 16, so you must hit in a bid to have the best possible chance at winning.
If, on the other hand, you have a total hand value of 15, and the dealer’s up-card is a 4, you assume that the best possible scenario for the dealer is a total of 14. The dealer would, in that case, be forced to hit again.
It is a straightforward and basic strategy but should you the right idea of how to act, when it comes to hitting or standing.